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Final flourish was an example of the style of football that Robbo wants to play

Post-match reaction from our Head Coach

13 March 2021

Mark Robinson said that he was pleased with the football his side produced in the final 15 minutes today as the players didn’t resort to pumping the ball up to substitute Ollie Palmer.

Speaking after the 0-0 draw at Bristol Rovers, a match in which Wimbledon came so close to winning near the end, Robbo said: "Ollie caused them problems and what pleased me is that we did that without being completely direct. We worked the ball out wide and got balls into the area, and that created the bit of chaos we needed. Now I have to give Ollie that carrot: can he do it from the start? We will look at the formation, but what I don’t want is the simple solution of ‘let’s just put Ollie and Joe up together’, and then we end up just pumping the ball up to the big men. We then don’t end up getting any momentum and we drop points. There has to be a reason behind doing things. It caused them problems because it was something different for them to deal with, but it still caused them problems because we had the possession to get into good areas. If you just start smashing the ball up top you are back to square one again.

“There also has to be a bigger picture here. We have had Great Escapes by playing direct football, but how many Great Escapes are we going to have? We need to have a bigger picture with a direction of where we are going to go in the future. Are we going to keep our best academy players? Are we going to attract other players? That’s my opinion, that’s why I was given the job, and I think there has been real improvement. Do I wish there had been more points? Of course I do. We are not where we are because of the recent form in the last eight games.

"Not picking up the points is frustrating, but if people can’t see the difference I am wasting my time! There is a difference with the work-rate, the endeavour, and the fact we can keep the ball. It’s not about keeping the ball for the sake of it, of course possession is about hurting teams, but we are capable of keeping the ball. We have come away from home and we are passing around teams and through them. I know we have to add the end bit and the goals have to come, but the lads are desperate to get the goals and we have to keep working on that.”

Robbo added that a lack of quality in the final third prevented his game plan from working in the first-half and he praised goalkeeper Nik Tzanev for his performance on his return.

“We wanted to get two of the midfielders higher and closer to Joe, so that when we got the ball wide and got balls in we could break into the area,” added Robbo. “It worked to a certain extent, but it didn’t work because our quality wasn’t good enough when we got there. We under-hit crosses still, which didn’t create that chaos and second balls you can pick up on. Then when I changed it Joe showed that he is a very good footballer, so I wanted him to drop in and link up the play, to get balls out wide, which he did well. Obviously, he can also join in the play with Ollie and we got balls in there. Everyone started to join in, the full-backs got forward, Cheye got good quality into the box, and we were also releasing Ryan, which was pleasing. I have said that he needs to use his pace more, without the ball, and get in behind people, which he did when he came on.

"I thought that Nik was excellent, not just the saves, which everyone notices, but his distribution, coming out of his goal, and giving angles, so that when we had to recycle the ball we could get going around the other side. I was really pleased with him.”


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